House passes permanent ban on abortion funding

Rep Chris Smith CNA US Catholic News 5 4 11 Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a permanent ban on taxpayer funding for abortion across all federal programs, including those created by last year’s health care legislation.

“Want to reduce abortions? End public funding,” said legislation author Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.). “There is no doubt whatsoever that ending public funding for abortions saves lives.”

The ban faces opposition in the Senate and is not expected to overcome a veto threat from the White House.

Smith spoke on the House floor May 4 and said the bill would “end taxpayer complicity in abortion violence.”

“No taxpayer should be coerced to pay, subsidize or facilitate the dismemberment, chemical poisoning, starvation or suctioning to death of a child and the harming of a woman.”

The bill passed by a margin of 251 to 175, with unanimous Republican support and 16 Democrats.

H.R. 3, titled “The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” has 227 co-sponsors, including 11 Democrats. With few exceptions, the bill intends to end any U.S. government financial support of abortion through direct funding, tax credits or other subsidies. It also protects the conscience rights of individuals and institutions which object to performing abortions.

Present restrictions on abortion funding, such as the Hyde Amendment, govern only specific areas of funding and often must be renewed annually.

The U.S. Catholic bishops have advocated the passage of H.R. 3. However, it faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Backers of the legislation could force a Senate vote by pairing it with a vote on raising the federal debt ceiling, the Washington Post reports.

President Obama’s senior advisors would recommend a veto of the bill if it arrives at his desk.

The Obama administration “strongly opposes” the legislation because it “intrudes on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care,” increases the tax burden on many Americans, and “unnecessarily restricts” private insurance choices, the White House said in a May 2 statement.

Opponents of the bill have also claimed it could result in IRS audits of rape and incest victims who seek abortions.

Smith said his bill would ensure that “Obamacare,” the health care legislation passed in 2010, would no longer allow tax credits for the purchase of insurance plans that include abortion or subsidies for abortion “except in the rare cases of rape, incest or life of the mother.”

The congressman said there was “great” need to protect pro-life institutions such as Catholic hospitals from discrimination by government authorities that attempt to coerce them to perform, have complicity in, or pay for abortion.

Smith said his legislation should become law because America is “more pro-life than ever.” This trend was evident in people such as former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director Abby Johnson, who now opposes abortion.

He said the country should protect the unborn child from “the insidious violence of abortion” and protect women from the trauma of procuring an abortion.

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